The Drug Epidemic


The Drug Epidemic: The Crippling of the Black Community

The first portion of the discussion on The Black Community focuses on the drug epidemic and its impact on the Black Community.

The 3 Questions

1. Can a drug dealer be a positive role model?

2. How much is the drug epidemic to blame for problems in the Black Community?

3. Do you feel that some or all drugs should be legalized and if so which ones and why?


There have been movies, documentaries, books, articles, programs, and so much more dedicated to the topic of drugs and their impact on society as a whole.  More often than not, these mass media events focus their attention on Black America’s drug dealers and tough neighborhoods.  This subject encompasses so much more than how bad drugs are to just the individual, but how they can affect every aspect of life in certain communities.   How much is the drug epidemic to blame for the destruction of our community?

Please write in and respond to our 3 poll questions or post some questions that you would like to see discussed.  These questions and more were addressed on March 19, 2011 during our Roundtable conversation aired on YouTube.

The Drug Epidemic

13 thoughts on “The Drug Epidemic”

  1. 1. A drug dealer should not be a role model, but unfortunately they are. Due to lack of other positive black male role models in the black community , many of todays youth really don’t have anyone else to turn to. It’s unfortunate that some of the values of the today youth are represented by the drug dealer: i.e. nice cars, money etc. It is important that we educate our youth to look more at the positive black male figure (President Obama) other than what’s in front. It’s easier to be a drug dealer than a president, but hard work and determination can get you anywhere.

  2. A drug dealer cannot be a positive role model. I think this is a lifestyle that is often glamorized on television and in movies. However, the reality is that if one does not remove him/herself from the drug dealing scene, they will suffer one of two consequences: jail or death. If our young people had more guidance and knew the reality of this world, they would not be so easily influenced by it.

    I think the drug epidemic definitely plays a role in the problems within the Black community, but I believe its a symptom of something greater. I believe once we are able to tackle issues like education and poverty, we will see less of an impact in the drug community.

  3. 1. Sometimes life is a matter of perspective. Most people will say that a drug dealer is not a role model and I would be inclined to agree. However, I can understand and empathize with those who think that a drug dealer can be looked at as a positive role model. Drug dealers are just illegal entrepreneurs in a sense. What is the difference between Griselda Blanco and Donald Trump? Both built up strong, fully functional empires that flourished in the respective markets. Both employed 100’s of people and supplied the demand of their respective clientele. It just so happens that Trump was born into the family business built by his father Fred (self-made millionaire) and built upon it vastly, and Blanco created her own fortune with an empire of cocaine. I state all this to say that people who are from the less fortunate neighborhoods and families, love to see one of their own become self-made and create their own success. The problem is that people pay attention to the trappings of success such as the fancy cars and jewelry and women. I think that there is something to be learned from drug dealers, both positive and negative. The complicated codes that it takes to run a drug empire or even a small faction can be compared with what takes place on Wall Street with the day traders. There are skills that should be transferable to the FBI etc. I want to make it clear that I do not agree with drug dealing nor do I support it. However coming from various low income neighborhoods in the past, I understand the type of thinking that takes place and the vision (whether right or wrong) that people are seeing. Drug dealing is not glamorized in any other culture the way it is shown in the media for black people. We are not being propelled towards being the next President Obama, but rather shown interviews on every cable channel in 300 countries worldwide with Jay-Z saying he was a former drug dealer and how successful he is now. Children see that and end up dying trying to achieve that dream. Nobody has shown them that there is another side to what we see glamorized; there is a ton of death and most drug dealers have a two-three year lifespan in the game. Death or jail are the real options one faces when deciding to embark on this dark journey. Constant paranoia following your life and having to always look over your shoulder is not a life most of the youth looking up to drug dealers are envisioning. There must be change on many fronts and the first must be a serious reality check for anybody thinking that it is okay to look up to drug dealers as a positive role model.

    (I will come back and answer questions 2 and 3)

  4. For an educated person that has goals and options…no a drug dealer will never be a positive role model. However, for someone searching for belonging and an easy way to cash then yes. In my opinion the problems of the black community have more to do with hopelessness than it does with drug use. Drugs are a symptom of the problem. The problem is that many people feel like things will never change or get better so they turn towards methods of self destruction.

  5. 1. Can a drug dealer be a positive role model? No way.If you’ve ever seen what a generation of crack did to little kids in the 80’s / early 90’s then there is no way to even look at these guys and girls as role models. They are in the business of dealing DEATH. The problem is that in the community we don’t put enough emphasis on education. Everything is so material…get the nicest car, have the freshest gear, pull the tightest girl. No one is showing any love to the guy/girl that’s reading/writing books, staying after school to tutor others, etc…
    The fact that that’s even a debatable question (about drug dealers being role models) shows that the black community still has a long way to go.

    2. How much of the drug epidemic is to blame for problems in the Black Community? I’ve always said that three things have lead to the destruction of the black community …Crack , Nike Jordans and Tyler Perry movies. I stand by it.
    But seriously, it really has set us back a good 20 years. There’s a generation in the 80’s that never made it to 25 years old. Imagine if all of that brain power and spirit was still around today ?

    3. Do you feel that some or all drugs should be legalized and if so which ones and why : All drugs should be legalized and then taxed to the moon. We would end the recession right there.

  6. Can a drug dealer be a positive role model… well, yes. Anyone can be a positive role model, but those who are watching have to be of strong mind. There are plenty of children who have seen their parents doing the wrong thing throughout their youth, but as they got older they told themselves that they would not go down that same road. They used that person as a “role model” to shape their lives and grew up to be a success in the community. I feel there are some children who look to a drug dealer and see drive and determination beyond the product they sell. Plus what is the difference between seeing a drug dealer who is mostly transparent in their illegal activities and a fortune 500 company who is doing the same amount of illegal activity or more in some cases? Again I will say, anyone doing anything, positive or negative can be positive a role model to anyone. They just need to pick out what is positive about what they are seeing and what should not be done by anyone.

    I do not think the drug epidemic is to blame for the issues in the black community. I feel as though it is complacency on the part of some. Drugs are in all communities rich, poor, middle class, black, white, latino. Some black folks have decided we as a people have gone far enough and now we can relax. Also, I feel as though the positive black folks who left the community to go live in others played a major role in the state of our communities. Plus, the black communities are a lot smaller than in the past. Most black folks are spread out in a number of different/ mixed communities.

    ….Can’t wait for the verbal discussion on this topic!!! It’s a good one!!

  7. 1. Can a drug dealer be a positive role model?

    No. A person who sells poison to their own people cannot be a role model. To the extent that some people idolize drug dealers (and many do), that’s a sign of a much deeper socio-economic problem and misplacement of values (idolizing material things, etc). People do what they feel they have to do to survive, but selling death to your own people and community is nothing to be idolized for.

    2. How much of the drug epidemic is to blame for problems in the Black Community?

    Eh.. It’s a problem, but I don’t think the drug epidemic is even in the top 5 problems facing the black community right now – maybe it’s in the top 10.

    3. Do you feel that some or all drugs should be legalized and if so which ones and why?

    I think that some drugs (marijuana and maybe others) should at least be de-criminalized.

  8. 1. Can a drug dealer be a positive role model? No, a person breaking the law cannot be a role model for others unless they themselves aspire to be criminals. Society will continue to punish law breakers and therefore anyone who idolizes someone selling drugs is headed in the wrong direction.

    2. How much of the drug epidemic is to blame for problems in the Black Community? No more than in any other community. Lack of education and “projects” are what I feel are the most responsible for the problems that exist in the black community. The invention of the “projects”, warehousing of the poor, has probably done more to drag down society as a whole than the drugs that permeate those areas. By having so many who have so little in a high density in a small area fosters crime and gangs. The fostering of the negatives associated with gangs and crime guide people to use and sell drugs, remove fathers from homes, and leave single mothers to fend for themselves. This leads to a vicious cycle that only serves to get worse and worse, hence where we stand today.

    3. Do you feel that some or all drugs should be legalized and if so which ones and why? Legalize them all. Allow people to choose what they want to have. Raise the punishment for selling drugs to astronomical levels, meaning that there can be no profit from selling drugs and forcing people to buy them from establishments that can be taxed accordingly. Use the tax funds to 1) help rehabilitate those who want to get off drugs, 2) bury those who OD, 3) take care of those the ones who OD’d left behind, 4) educate the young to stop the cycle. It seems harsh but people make choices and rather than an innocent person suffering for some drug addicts addiction, let the addict suffer directly. This can be resolved in one generation. The money that is currently being used to prevent the flow of drugs and imprison those selling them and using them will be in the trillions in the first few years. Granted there could be a short term increase in crime but those so desperate to buy the drugs will also be the ones OD’ing so I expect that will not be long.

  9. 1. I do agree that a drug dealer CAN be a positive role model. People learn from what they see, do, and hear. Many drug dealers or people who have done wrong in life are still positively active in their communities and encourage the youth to do better than them rather than following in their footsteps. They can still set an example of how to provide for others-as many do support their communities. Its sad that drug dealers of illegal drugs are placed in such an ugly category when 1)they are working and making money like many of the rest of us 2)Pharmaceutical companies kill just as many if not more with drugs who have been approved and legalized and they are not even held accountable. No, they are not good, but they are not all bad. Some of the things that come with the territory are bad, however.

    2. In regards to the issues in our communities, drugs can play a huge role in the problems. Just as legal drugs play a negative role in other communities. Not only does abuse of any drug kill and cause health issues, it perverts the focus of its users and distributers. The users are focused on getting it rather than handling responsibilities such as taking care of themselves, caring for loved ones, working, etc…And many of the distributors are more focused on protecting their ’empire’ than much else. All of this leads to neglect of the community as a whole-the people, the property, the home, the kids…it causes a deterioration of the family and community

    3. I do not have an issue with Maryjane being legalized. Many states are hurting and it could be a great source of income. It would somehow have to be regulated in regards to distributing and pricing even. It has been proven to have some good benefits when used properly, but of course it would be abused by some. I have never seen anyone strung out on weed…This is the same reason I am against making cigarettes illegal-it is a source of income for many…but it will kill you

  10. 1)a drug dealer can be a role model just as goods as drug users are role models .
    2)It contributes a little but given the fact the economy is in turmoil what are we to expect .These issues where there generations before us so it contributes a little
    3)Weed should be legalized coz people can still function as compared to all these other drugs.

  11. can a drug dealer be a positive role model……………….. I would have to disagree. a drug dealers mind is dangerous. a drug dealer usually is having emotional issues, family issues, or just simple personal issues. i am not saying that a drug dealer cannot be a good person… OF COURSE. when u have that THUG mentality, and then to mix it with the job of selling drugs, you can be branded horrible

  12. 1. Can a drug dealer be a positive role model?

    NO. A sociopath should never be idiolized by our children.

    “Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness. ” Martin Luther King, Jr.

    2. How much of the drug epidemic is to blame for problems in the Black Community?

    In my opinion the main blame for the problems in the Black Community is a spiritual one. Our lack of faith in the one true God (Christian) has caused our families to self destruct. It is our general immorality that is the major cause for our condition today. And immorality was probably the condition of our ancestors that triggered the slave trade.

    3. Do you feel that some or all drugs should be legalized and if so which ones and why?

    Wow. Legalize controlled substances for a people who already show no self control.

    Someone who suggests that addictive drugs should be sold wholesale to our people is either not a friend of our people or is just ignorant. Just like someone who can justify aborting our pre-born infants and agreeing with those who want to see our destruction.

    WAKE UP!

  13. Unfortunately, drug dealers have become role models in some of our neighborhoods. People who are down and out and don’t see a way out of their current situation see it as a life of glamour and ways to earn respect around the neighborhood. Kids see dealers building themselves up in the community through hard work and determination no matter the consequences and in spite of the overall impact on the community and they have something to look up to in a way. It is sad but true. They also see dealing as a way out of their poverty and because there aren’t many other successful avenues that they are able to see, they feel they have no choice but to go the same route. Even knowing the consequences of jail or death, some feel there are no other viable options and that instead of being low on the totem pole , they will take their chances with that life. It is easy to say that,’ no of course there is no positive aspect in dealing’, but I am sure that there are two sides to that coin. To build a successful business from the ground up takes determination, know-how and a certain type of drive and willingness that most people just simply don’t possess. Working hard to achieve something and staying on top is positive within itself but the means of doing so when drugs are involved, aren’t. There is nothing positive about killing your own people and exposing them to the possibility of more ways to end up in jail as if being Black wasn’t enough.

    There are plenty of reasons that can contribute to the demise of the Black community and the drug epidemic is one in a long line of many. Drug dealing and abuse has contributed to the outrageous numbers of our people filling up the jails, our children dropping out of school because they feel they can make more money on the streets than they would with a career, and the breakdown of the family with more of our men being incarcerated than any other demographic. These are major issues with sub-issues like lack of fathers, tougher sentencing laws targeting Black criminals, lack of resources and role models in the schools to impact children of color. All of these plague our society and drugs are just one piece of the puzzle.

    The legalization of mind- altering substances is a bad idea on any front. We would like to think that people are doing the research of what effects drugs will have before using them but that is simply not the case. People blindly do things because the govt. says it is allowed like drinking when we turn 21 and smoking tobacco because who would think that the powers that be would allow people to hurt themselves. Peer pressure also plays a huge role in first time drug use. Most of the recent activity on legalization has been about marijuana. Despite what a lot of people say, THC has psychological addictive properties and effects the brain negatively opening the user up to depression and possible permanence of schizophrenia in individuals who use over the long term with a history of mental illness and/or other risk factors. I think there are already enough legal substances on the market that are killing us, i.e. alcohol and tobacco.

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